A small village in the middle of Kashmir’s beautiful Nehlem Valley is home to the Bakarwal community, an indigenous nomadic people whose roots date back thousands of years. I visited the community last year and wanted to share what it was like to live in such a remote area and maintain the lifestyle of my ancestors there. This, as you will see below, was no easy feat! Below, you will find pictures from my journey, along with all of the details that made it possible…
The two major towns on either side of Nehlem are Gilgit and Skardu. It takes roughly four to five hours to reach Gilgit from Islamabad by bus; many people travel through Murree for a nice change of scenery. From Gilgit, one can take a regular van to Besal (the last town on National Highway 55) or hire a private car from Faisalabad Motorpark.
There’s no direct route to Nehlem from Skardu, but it’s possible to get there via Astore District. One option is to catch a minibus or jeep at Gakuch, which leaves every morning around 8:00 AM. There’s also an overnight train that leaves Rawalpindi Station at 7:30 PM and arrives in Astore at 6:15 AM; you can then take a taxi or jeep to Gakuch.
Local Attractions and Things To Do
For those who enjoy nature and want to get away from it all, Nehlem Valley offers endless fun. While a relaxing weekend away might be your goal, Nehlem Valley provides many ways to enjoy yourself. Activities such as trekking through mountains and exploring caves are sure to keep you busy! For those looking for more modern entertainment options there are restaurants that offer delicious food and drinks for any budget.
Whatever your taste you’re sure to find something that suits you! The list of activities available goes on and on but no matter what you choose to do while visiting Nehlem Valley one thing is certain: You will have an unforgettable time!
Where to Eat
The very first place you’ll want to visit on a trip to Neelam Valley is probably one of India’s most famous chai wala (teahouse) owners. He hails from India’s Jammu and Kashmir state and has been setting up his tea stall at bus stops around town for over 20 years. It doesn’t matter whether you’re on a local bus or taking an international flight, chances are there’s going to be a tea stall nearby! When you stop by, make sure to order some chai and try out some of his other delectable treats. If you’re lucky enough to catch him in a good mood, he might even give you some tips about what else to see during your stay.
The Local Population
Almost all of Nehlens’s natives are farmers and herdsmen who rely on agriculture for their livelihood. Tourists are a rare site here as most of them prefer to go towards Srinagar. The Valley’s culture revolves around agriculture and weddings often last for 3 days or more. An interesting fact about Nehlens is that locals do not eat any meat because they believe animals have souls too. As such, they only consume milk products and vegetables.
Locals also follow a strict set of rules when it comes to marriage. For example, men must be married before 30 years old otherwise they will be kicked out of their homes by their parents! Another rule states that women must get married before 25 years old else she will face serious consequences from her family members.
Places To Shop For Souvenirs
When you are looking for a souvenir from Kashmir to bring back home with you it is important to first establish what your interest may be. Do you enjoy hiking or camping? Would you rather visit more historical sites while on vacation? Are there any particular pictures that come to mind when you think of Kashmir and its beauty that you would love to buy as a memory of your trip? Chances are there are plenty of places around where one can find their own souvenir piece. The best part about souvenirs is that they allow us to take small parts of our travels with us wherever we go. You might want to consider getting some smaller pieces so you can keep them organized at home.
Also read:-Nehlem Vally https://www.nehalem.gov/community/page/about-nehalem